Scouting organizations are still registering to participate in the 2018 Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) over the October 19 – 21 weekend. With about 1 month to go, JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND, told ARRL that registration is “probably on target” at this point. US registrations stood at 235 as of the end of last week. Right after JOTA 2017, 489 US locations had signed up, although that included both Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI) participants, which, Wilson said, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have “remained steadfast” in considering separate events, although, he noted, this is not the case at the world level.
“Our goals are primarily to grow participation,” Wilson told ARRL. “The World JOTA-JOTI Team has set a goal of 3 million participants by 2021; 2017 saw 1.5 million worldwide. Sign-ups at the world level right now are at 1,428 locations. Wilson said that, in the US, many locations wait until the last minute to register their participation. In 2017, some 7,900 Scouts took part in JOTA, down by nearly 10,800 participants from 2016, but topping participation for 2014 and 2015. Total radio contact numbers were down from 2016 and 2015.
“We’ve also put in place a number of aids to help people improve their on-the-air experience, which will be challenging without sunspots,” Wilson pointed out. “We’ve provided a video of how to work HF for JOTA. We’ve also provided a quick reference card to help Scouts during the QSO.” Recommended JOTA frequencies are listed on the K2BSA website. “Operators should note that these frequencies are starting points to find QSOs,” Wilson added. “They can also turn the dial to find other stations on the air. It’s not like a repeater.” A list of Girl Scout activities supported by JOTA-JOTI has also been posted.
Held each year on the third full weekend in October, JOTA is the world’s largest Scouting event. JOTA uses Amateur Radio to link Scouts and hams around the world. Scouts of any age and gender can participate, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and Venturers.
Radio amateurs at the local level are encouraged to work with a scout council or unit to set up a JOTA station or arrange to have Scouts visit their shacks. “You can also participate just by making QSOs with the many JOTA stations that will be on the air,” Wilson said.